It’s as if Sherry Williams and her team of core volunteers inhaled and breathed life into a group of people who felt they had no real place in traditional ministry when New Revelation Church began.
Resulting from an invitation from First Lady, Vanessa Fletcher of Living Word Baptist Church, a seed was planted in 2019 when Sherry Williams attended a workshop hosted by Center for Congregations. This workshop introduced the Center’s work and the different types of resources available. Both ultimately led to the receipt of a special grant and faithful participation in a two-year long cohort focusing on Engaging Young Adults.
At the core of this invigoration was a commitment to engage with young adults and offer a connection and integration between young and old alike to find platforms where they could ask questions, share their personal thoughts on life and faith, and create safe spaces where a Christ-centered, congenial group of strangers could focus on renewing themselves after the pandemic. A place where: The Word came alive providing applicable, biblical truths, anchored in scripture and not opinion.
“Given the state of the world, we understood people were and are re-thinking how they engage with their faith and searching for new and different ways away from or in addition to traditional worship,” shares Williams. “The very first step we employed was taking the time to listen. To hear how, where, and when young adults wanted to engage with their faith. We took to heart the message from young adults that they wanted alternative ways to learn, listen, engage, especially to that of the Sunday-in-the-pew worship.”
Throughout this process, Williams shared, “intent listening led to great conversations. Our team quickly realized many of our young adults had questions they were afraid to ask in congregational or bible-study setting.” So, a podcast named, “Is It Just Me” was launched that allowed for open discussion of questions several people were in search of answers for. The second podcast, named, “Woman to Woman” launched shortly thereafter, taking the conversations further by fostering intergenerational conversations and mentoring amongst females only.”
With these two new initiatives in the works and momentum continuing to build, the Engaging Young Adults team began discussing and then put into place a non-traditional worship service on Saturday mornings. New Revelations Church was born.
The worship service locations have varied from local parks, community centers and even different sanctuaries. It was clear very early on a need was being met. So, the team continued their work and sought out an official name and youth pastor.
Pastor Jimmie Ellison eagerly joined these efforts in June 2021 and hasn’t looked back. His pastoral approach embodies a non-traditional style of worship service, so he passionately leads with the understanding that “the function of worship is far more important than the forms of worship.”
Pastor Ellison, Williams, and their team’s commitment to maximizing their grant from Center for Congregations continued to advocate for their focus on young adults which led to being gifted a house to renovate and serve as a dedicated space for future gatherings. While the renovation project is still a work-in-progress, it is slated to be complete in the fall 2022. Pastor Ellison says, “It is another investment in the youth and young adults of several congregations and neighboring communities. We are identified as a place they can come to share and learn guided by faith.”
“We’ve had unwavering support from church leaders and local pastors, so we want to stay activated and involved,” Williams says. “Whether it is working with community centers, bringing other pastors together to learn from each other, or building additional ministry outlets for young adults in the community, we are determined to create a ‘new’ path forward to share and grow our faith.”
To this point, community outreach remains at the forefront of New Revelations Church and is reflected in their involvement with Windsor Village Community Center who sets up events for neighborhood kids like, Trunk and Treat at Halloween, a toy drive during the holidays, and even a back-to-school backpack blitz filled with school supplies that was both needed and appreciated by local families.
“We want to meet individuals where they are in their faith journey and be mindful and respectful of their understanding and how we can learn from each other without judgment,” declares Williams. “It feels so good to open new doors to share the Word. We’ve just got to start with listening to each other and the rest unfolds with a unique and fresh way to come together to serve.”